When Autum Ashante got on BET at the age of seven and read a poem about White nationalism putting us in “bondage”, I felt like my ovaries wept for the possibility that I, too, could one day be so lucky as to have a little warrior child like her someday.

“Black land taken from your hands, by vampires with no remorse / They took the gold, the wisdom and all of the storytellers / They took the black women, with the black man weak / Made to watch as they changed the paradigm / Of our village / They killed the blind, they killed the lazy, they went / So far as to kill the unborn baby.”

While conservatives denounced her as a racist, she brought me back to my own childhood recitations of my dad’s Black Panther chants and our family’s very candid conversations about race that were not saved for my teen years. She was my little hero and my friends sent around an email calling her “Little Jamilah”. I wondered once or twice what had happened to her in the years following her notorious performance.

Now 13, the young scholar is nursing some serious wounds after being admitted to the University of Connecticut…and then having her acceptance rescinded. Father Batin Ashante told the NY Daily News that Autum is “devastated” upon learning that the university has now stated that she is not academically ready for college.

“I’m her dad and it just bothers me to see her go through this.”Ashante said. He added that his daughter had confirmed her plans to attend the school and informed them that she was raising funds for her expenses.

The family will go forward with their plans to leave the Bronx for Connecticut, as Autum will seek another school to attend in the fall. Her father seems doubtful that he’d send Autum to the University of Connecticut in the future. “I’m fed up. They have insulted us and the work that we’ve put in,” he said. “I’m not sure I want her to be involved with an institution that treats her like that.”

Can’t help but wonder if the school found out about Autum’s poetry and got shook. It’s very possible that she left “I was the kid who called White folks vampires on BET'”

Autum is a brilliant girl and will surely succeed academically elsewhere. However, attending college at 13 is an incredibly difficult task for any child, regardless of their intelligence. Think about the experiences that you had or are having as a college student that she would miss out on because of her youth. Do you think a gifted child should go off to a university, or should they wait until they are old enough to have both the academic and social college experience?

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  • Flo

    He first name is spelled wrong, it is without an N, It is Autum.

  • Sydney

    I don’t know the details of why the college pulled their admissions from her, but she’s only 13! I knew a girl who entered college at the age of 15, and she regretted not going at a later age. I agree with previous commenters; college is not just about the education, but also the social life. A lot of the college experience is outside of books. I just don’t think that a 13 year old would be able to enjoy the same experience as an 18/19 year old entering college.

    I think she should wait until she’s a more appropriate age so she can fully enjoy the college experience. She’s a bright girl, talented, and has a whole lot of promise. I don’t doubt that she will be able to get into a good college when she’s finished high school. She has a bright future, there’s no need to rush!

  • Jen*

    Speaking as someone who entered college at 13, there are positives and negatives. I would recommend PEG at Mary Baldwin simply because they offer the program to young women of that age, with separate dorm life for at least the first year. Being a women’s college is another great attribute for the young ladies who attend. It’s not perfect, but it offered me a bridge to the rest of my college career.

    However, it’s my understanding that she was homeschooled, and possibly might not meet entrance reqs at UConn. MBC would be helpful in that scenario as well.

    Unfortunately, all available options are not always publicized enough to ensure those who deserve the opportunities are informed about them.

  • cherbear

    I hate to say it too, but 13 is young. There are schools for gifted children that her parents should look into. I think that would keep her mind stimulated.

    I doubt the rescinded offer had anything to do with the appearance on BET. She really should take another year or two to grow academically and emotionally. It is her life. I’m sure she’ll enjoy whatever experience comes her way.

    Good luck to her either way.